The Headlines of the Barker Presidency

“A timeline is an easy way to capture the highlights of a period of time, in this case, the 14 years of Jim Barker’s presidency. It’s a harder thing to capture the essence of the time. And so as we celebrate the accomplishments of this period, we do so by remembering the Clemson World headlines of the times and the news that was reported.”


Winter 2000

A Clear Vision

Clemson’s new president, Jim Barker, takes office with a clear vision — to see Clemson in the top 20 national public universities in the country within the next 10 years.
The former dean of Clemson’s College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities, Barker already knows much about the University — as student, professor and dean. A 1970 Clemson graduate, Barker returned to the University in 1986 to become dean of what was then the College of Architecture. He continued to teach classes throughout his tenure as dean.
Now as the University’s 14th president, Barker has begun a 10-year plan for Clemson to become one of the nation’s top universities.
“Our vision statement of becoming the leading land-grant university is a wonderful goal, but we need some intermediate steps to get there,” he says. “We also need time. I think it’s important that Clemson have some stability in our president’s office, some ability to know where we’re going for a longer period of time and maintain our focus on key issues. So I have articulated for the Board — and for the faculty, staff and students who were involved in my interviews — a 10-year vision.
“Very simply, Clemson will be in the top 20 of national public universities in the country at the end of that period, even sooner if possible. A great university is built in steps, and we’ll take some of these steps as quickly as we can.”
Right now, according to U.S.News & World Report, Clemson is tied for 38th. At the end of 10 years, Barker expects Clemson to:

  • increase funded research to $100 million a year,
  • see many of its individual programs ranked among the top 20,
  • set the standard in public service for all land-grant universities by engaging the whole campus in service and outreach, by being well-focused and by becoming very good in those selected areas,
  • complete the current capital campaign and a subsequent one, exceeding the goals of both and substantially growing the University’s private endowment,
  • win another national championship in football (Tigers won in 1981) and two other sports, and reach the national “Final Four” twice in basketball, send another University Chorus group to perform at Carnegie Hall (Chamber Singers went in 1992),
  • have a thriving Phi Beta Kappa chapter,
  • have at least two students win Rhodes Scholarships,
  • and, at the heart of all these endeavors, continue to excel in teaching.

Spring 2000

Stellar Students

Thirty outstanding high school seniors from across the country visited campus earlier this year as finalists in the new Clemson National Scholars program.
“Outstanding” may be an understatement. Their average SAT score is well over 1500, and they’re in the top 1 percent of their class. From this group, 10-12 students will be selected to receive full scholarships to the University and a summer of study in Italy as the first class of Clemson National Scholars.
Because of generous donors, the Clemson National Scholars endowment has reached $6 million and will eventually fund approximately 25 scholarships each year.
“This will be our premier scholarship program,” says President Jim Barker. “Without such a program, we simply can’t compete with the top scholarship offers made by other universities. To be a national university, we must have a national-caliber scholarship program.”
The Clemson National Scholars is an immediate and direct result of The Clemson Commitment capital campaign.
Library bridge

Summer 2001

President’s View: Decisive moment

Throughout history, Clemson has faced decisive moments that have shaped its future. In the 1950s, we shifted to a coed and civilian student body; in the 1960s, we desegregated and gained university status; in the 1990s, we underwent restructuring.
On June 20, 2001, another such decision was made. When the Board of Trustees enacted an unprecedented tuition increase, they ensured that we would provide the resources necessary to make Clemson one of the top-20 public universities in the nation.
Throughout the year, as we faced substantive issues about quality, funding and the direction of the University for the next 10 years, we followed a process that served us well: Our goals are non-negotiable. We would have an open, inclusive process. We would gather input from people affected by our decisions. We would debate all options, carefully considering the benefits and risks of each. We would act as One Clemson.
As Clemson alumni, students, faculty and staff well know, we have a goal to become one of the nation’s top-20 public universities, and we have a plan or a “road map” to help us achieve that goal.
We will build our research environment and improve South Carolina’s ability to attract knowledge-based industry. The value of a Clemson degree will be increased, making our graduates more competitive in the job market. More of our best students will remain in state for their education, no longer having to choose between a LIFE scholarship and top-tier education.
A recent poll shows that 9 out of 10 South Carolinians agree that the state should have a top-tier university. Yet Clemson is substantially underfunded, even with a 42 percent tuition hike. According to the Commission on Higher Education mission resource requirement, Clemson is funded at $68 million a year below what we need to operate. We are currently funded at 61 percent of the state’s formula compared to 68 percent for peer research institutions in South Carolina.
For the past five years, Clemson has had lower tuition increases and smaller growth in appropriations than other state institutions. When we compare per-student appropriations to those in Georgia, North Carolina and Florida, we are far behind.
The road map was charted with the understanding that we would need significant improvements in all funding areas. We believed that our goals were reasonable with modest improvements in five areas.
State appropriations: We assumed we would continue to see the modest increase of 2 to 3 percent that had been the norm the past five years. Instead of slight growth, however, we face a situation of flat funding for academic and operating needs, and declining resources for public service activities.
Tuition: For the past five years, tuition increases merely offset unfunded pay raises and other unfunded mandates. We knew we would need larger tuition increases than in recent years. On June 20, 2001, Trustees took a bold step enacting a substantial tuition increase that demonstrated commitment to improving the quality of a Clemson education.
External support: We would not place the entire burden of our plan on the state and students. Our plan calls for increase in external support generated through private gifts, grants and sponsored programs. Our faculty and staff have risen to the challenge. Last year, we had the most successful fund-raising year ever and the highest one-year increase in research funding ever.
Internal efficiencies: With limited resources, we knew we would have to look within and be willing to reallocate from current budgets to higher priorities. Our administrative costs are 7.3 percent of academic costs, the lowest in the state and well below similar universities elsewhere. Our general overhead cost per student is $100–$300 below the average of our peers and $200 less than it was two years ago. Each year, Clemson received the highest scores in the state for administrative efficiency. Yet we continue to look for ways to maximize efficiency and have recently restructured two academic colleges.
Accountability: We have a responsibility to tell students, parents, alumni, legislators and others how we are spending their money and show them what they are receiving in return. We have published and widely distributed our goals. We keep a continually updated Web site that reports on how we’re doing on each goal. We will continue to travel across the state talking with constituents about our plans and how we’re directing funds.
In all the areas within our control, we have delivered.

Fall 2001

Roaring into the Future

The numbers are in! Because of you — our loyal, enthusiastic, generous alumni and friends — The Clemson Commitment has blown away its goal of $260 million and recorded a huge victory for Clemson’s academic reputation.
The five-year campaign began (July 1, 1996) with these goals and ended (June 30, 2001) with these results:

  • To raise at least $260 million in private gifts and pledges for Clemson programs. (The goal increased from $210 million to $260 million in February 2000.) The campaign closed with $295 million in gifts and pledges.
  • To increase the percentage of alumni who make annual gifts to the Clemson Fund from 16 percent to at least 25 percent. Alumni participation in the Clemson Fund shot up to 26.6 percent.
  • To increase annual gifts to the Clemson Fund from $20 million to at least $30 million. Annual gifts to the Clemson Fund hit $37.7 million in 2000-2001.
  • To increase the University’s deferred gifts inventory (wills, trusts and other forms of documented future gifts) by at least $45 million. Deferred gifts established during the campaign totaled $76.5 million.
  • To double the University’s endowment from $110 million to at least $220 million. The University’s endowment exceeded $250 million.

Fall 2002

BMW, Clemson and the state begin historic partnership

Clemson, BMW Manufacturing Corp. and S.C. Gov. Jim Hodges announced in late September a partnership to build an automotive engineering graduate education center in Upstate South Carolina. The center will provide research support and engineers with advanced degrees needed by BMW, its suppliers and the state’s growing automotive industry.
BMW has pledged $10 million to endow the academic programs, and the state will provide $25 million to construct and equip a state-of-the-art facility to house the graduate center.
“With the support of BMW and the state of South Carolina, we will be able to build a premier automotive engineering program center,” says Clemson President Jim Barker. “This partnership is a major step in Clemson’s quest to be a top-20 public university and in South Carolina’s drive to build a knowledge-based economy.”
Hodges called the collaboration “one of the finest examples of higher education, government, training and business working together for the benefit of all.”

Summer 2003

National Champions!

On May 30, in Stillwater, Okla., Clemson golfer D.J. Trahan fired a final round of 74 and teammate Jack Ferguson clinched the win with a par on the 18th hole, leading Clemson to its first NCAA Golf Championship.
Clemson also became the first school in NCAA history to win its conference championship, NCAA regional title and National Championship in the same year. The Tigers started and ended the year as the No. 1 ranked team in the nation.
Clemson finished the season with a 124-8-3 record against top-25 opposition, an incredible 93 percent winning percentage, by far the best in the nation and best in Clemson history.

Fall 2004

Making old, new

In 2006, fraternity and sorority housing on the Quad received LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

In 2006, fraternity and sorority housing on the Quad received LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Clemson is creating the first formal academic organization supporting the restoration economy — the revitalization of existing areas through new development.
The Clemson University Restoration Institute, centered in Charleston, will create a formal network of experts to tackle the demands of a growing economy based on restoration. The state has awarded Clemson $3 million of matching funds, from the S.C. Education Lottery, for the program.
“The University has recognized this opportunity for advancing South Carolina’s economy through the creation of new knowledge,” says Jan Schach, dean of the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities and in charge of the institute. “Clemson is also one of only a few universities with the right mix of design, engineering and natural science in applied faculty expertise that can carry out this effort.”
Clemson already has a related presence with its Charleston Architecture Center, and Charleston will be home to Clemson’s new graduate program in historic preservation.

Summer 2006

Inquiring Minds

At first you think you’re seeing an antidote to the latest “bad news” headlines: Successful hospital evacuation plans … childhood obesity treatment … bullying prevention … eating disorder recovery … improved elder care … new cancer research.
And, in a way, you are. These and many other relevant topics are driving Clemson’s fresh approach to undergraduate research — called “creative inquiry” — real-world research for real-life results.
Although it may sound like a new name for an old educational tool, it’s much more. For a start, creative inquiry requires multiple semesters, often four. It combines critical thought, careful research, clear communication and personal commitment. Put simply, it’s “engaged learning” throughout the undergraduate experience.
“Creative inquiry crosses boundaries between different majors and promotes teamwork,” says Provost Dori Helms, who began introducing the concept several years ago. “Problem-solving carries far beyond the classroom and the single semester.
“This interactive environment engages the faculty, student body and community in discovery, enriching the lives of all involved.”
Creative inquiry is designed to give faculty new teaching environments and mentoring opportunities. It generates fresh concepts and topics they can incorporate into their classes, and they get to interact more often with peers from other disciplines.
Then there’s the community, the University community, the surrounding towns and counties, the state and the “greater community” of all people. When students become lifelong, ethical problem-solvers, our quality of life improves in every way.
Of course, the main beneficiaries are the students themselves.
“In addition to engaged learning, having a mentor and earning academic credit, students get more say-so in their own education,” says Jan Murdoch, undergraduate dean. “Specifically, they can pursue their intellectual and creative passions whether child care or cardiovascular research.”

The Phi Beta Kappa installation ceremony was held on April 1, 2007, and 74 Clemson students were inducted.

The Phi Beta Kappa installation ceremony was held on April 1, 2007, and 74 Clemson students were inducted.

Summer 2007

For the love of learning

“After Barker became president and announced that Phi Beta Kappa was one of his 10-year goals, I was elated,” says George C. Fant Jr. ’49. “Not only did this show the administration’s support for student academic achievement, but it showed how serious the University was about the direction it was taking to become a top-20 school.”
… Fant and his wife, Helen, funded an endowment, the Helen M. and George C. Fant Jr. Endowed Scholar, which began the process by which Clemson would be assessed for Phi Beta Kappa membership. The purpose of the endowment was twofold: One, it financed the research and application process to get the chapter started; and two, it provided funds for the chapter’s annual activities and to promote its presence on campus.
“The Fants’ endowment allowed me to do many of the things necessary to secure a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa,” says Jens Holley, University Libraries department chairman, who joined Phi Beta Kappa Society as a student at Furman University. As the Fant Scholar, established by the Fants’ endowment, Holley coordinated the efforts of faculty colleagues to establish the new chapter at Clemson.
During the University’s applicationprocess, the national Phi Beta Kappa organization conducted an extensive review, in which faculty credentials and student achievements were analyzed, and visited campus. To be considered, Clemson had to have Phi Beta Kappa representation of 10 percent of its liberal arts and sciences faculty.
Finally, in 2006, Clemson University was awarded South Carolina’s Delta chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, fulfilling one of President Barker’s goals for the University and a lifelong dream for Fant.

Spring 2010

Clemson at the forefront of wind energy quest

In November 2009, the Clemson University Restoration Institute in North Charleston and its partners landed $98 million in funding to develop next-generation wind turbines.
In doing so, the Restoration Institute brought to South Carolina one of the most important wind energy research and development initiatives in the world and placed Clemson at the forefront of the nation’s alternative energy quest.
The move is expected to generate an economic boom for the region by creating new jobs and an industry cluster that will complement Clemson’s other economic development successes: the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) in Greenville and the Clemson University Advanced Materials Center in Anderson County.
The Restoration Institute and the drivetrain testing facility will include a graduate education component, the cornerstone of any Clemson public-private business model.
With this facility, the Restoration Institute will test the next-generation wind turbines and drivetrains that will help shape the U.S. wind industry.
The Restoration Institute and its partners received a $45 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, which will be combined with $53 million in matching funds from public and private partners. The University’s partners include the Charleston Naval Complex Redevelopment Authority, S.C. Department of Commerce, state of South Carolina, S.C. Public Railways, S.C. State Ports Authority, RENK Labeco, Tony Bakker and James Meadors. Additional partners that helped write the grant proposal are Savannah River National Laboratory, SCE&G and Fluor.

Spring 2008

President’s View: Striking improvements

Clemson’s first academic plan, known as the “Road Map,” has helped us achieve many great things, including a No. 22 ranking among national public universities by U.S.News & World Report.
In its 2009 guide, “America’s Best Colleges,” U.S. News also put Clemson in second place on a list of “Up and Coming” national universities. That list recognizes schools that have “recently made striking improvements or innovations,” schools that “everyone should be watching.”
What are these improvements? More Clemson students now graduate within four years. Student retention from the freshman-to-sophomore year rose from 88 to 90 percent. Graduation rates are up from 75 to 78 percent.

Spring 2011

S.C. Centers of Economic Excellence driving the state toward healthier economy

… “If there has ever been a win-win-win program in South Carolina,” says President Jim Barker, “it’s the CoEE Program.” First, the state’s research universities win by having an investment of public and private funding directed toward the areas where we know we can make a difference in the future of our state. Focusing intellectual capital on critical needs and opportunities, from the automotive industry to a sustainable environment, will result in advances in these areas but will also attract established businesses and entrepreneurs to work with us.
The centers will give students connections and experience that will serve them well after their course work is done. Private investors win by partnering with a research university and world-class faculty members whose work can produce knowledge and innovation and create jobs. And the state wins by the creation of new business and the relocation of businesses from other states for proximity to the innovators in their fields.
The state has invested $45 million in CoEE funds in Clemson research, creating 13 centers with 16 endowed-chair positions to attract the best and brightest faculty leaders from around the world. With a strong alignment between the CoEEs, Clemson’s emphasis areas and national priorities, the potential for growth is virtually limitless.
CU-ICAR — the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research is home to four research areas supported by endowed chairs to drive innovation in automotive and motorsports research.
COMSET — Clemson’s Center for Optical Materials Science and Engineering Technologies is headquarters for two CoEEs to be led by endowed chairs.
Advanced Fiber-based Materials researches advanced synthetic polymers and natural fibrous materials as well as new composite materials based on metals, ceramics and polymers for automotive, space, athletic equipment and medical prosthetic markets.
Advanced Tissue Biofabrication is in conjunction with the Medical University of South Carolina and the University of South Carolina. Clemson researchers develop processes for the production of complex tissues and organs through “bioprinting” or three-dimensional layering of individual cells.
Cyber-Institute combines computer and electrical engineering with the University’s growing computing power to create a strong research program, industrial partnerships and technology transfer opportunities in research areas that rely on storage, processing and transmitting large amounts of data.
Health Facilities Design and Testing (with MUSC and USC) research focuses on designing health care facilities to improve delivery of health care services and create architectural settings that positively affect the health of patients and staff.
Regenerative Medicine, housed at the Medical University of South Carolina, focuses on the regeneration or re-modeling of tissues and organs for the purpose of repairing, replacing, maintaining or enhancing organ functions, including engineering and growth of functional tissue substitutes.
SeniorSMART ™, a collaborative effort with the University of South Carolina, explores three major research areas — intellectual activity, safety within the home and safety outside the home, especially while driving.
Sustainable Development builds on existing strengths in restoration ecology, renewable energy, natural resources, sustainable design, land use planning, real estate development and watershed management. Research fosters sustainable development strategies that allow the state to protect natural resources and encourage smart growth.
Supply Chain Optimization and Logistics draws on established expertise in helping business and industry find the most efficient, economical ways to move goods or people to market.
Tissue Systems Characterization enhances existing expertise in tissue engineering and biomaterials to provide alternatives to animal testing. This center extends exploration of novel technologies with potential to serve as new diagnostics, medical devices and therapeutic products.
Urban Ecology and Restoration integrates ecological science, engineering and urban design and planning to support the growth of South Carolina’s environmental industry.

Spring 2012

Class of ’56 Academic Success Center

Clemson’s Academic Success Center has worked nearly a decade in the lower level of the Cooper Library
— and in other nooks and crannies across campus
— to help students keep scholarships and graduate.
Now, thanks to the Class of 1956, it has a new designated building in the heart of Clemson’s academic campus. The $2.7 million raised by the class became seed money for the construction of the Class of 1956 Academic Success Center, located behind Cooper Library, which opened earlier this year. The $13.7 million project includes construction of the 35,000-square-foot, three-story building, site preparation, furnishings and landscaping. Its main programs and instructors make studying and understanding course work more effective and meaningful, helping students keep scholarships and graduate.

Summer-Fall 2012

We made it: $608,839,594

When the Will to Lead: A Campaign for Clemson was launched publicly in 2006, it was a bold step for the University. And its successful completion marks the largest university fundraising effort ever achieved in our history, surpassing the $600 million goal.
It’s time to celebrate that great achievement, even as we look to the future. The generosity of Clemson Family and friends has done great things for the students and faculty, changing lives and adding to the economic opportunity of the entire region.
The new goal for the Will to Lead campaign is $1 billion. In the middle of a recession, the Clemson Family and friends raised more than $608 million for Clemson, exceeding our goal. These vital funds met many of the University’s most immediate needs.
But this is about the future. Funds are needed for additional scholarships, fellowships, professorships and endowed chairs to benefit our current students and faculty, and to attract even more top talent. New facilities are needed to replace aged and inadequate academic and athletic structures. And dollars are needed to provide the kind of unique experiences that create the marketplace-ready graduates that Clemson prides itself in.
The challenge to raise $1 billion is the most ambitious ever under-taken by a public university with an alumni base of our size.

Spring 2013

A time for change

I returned from my medical leave on March 29 and two weeks later asked the Board of Trustees to begin its search for the 15th president of Clemson University. I will remain in office until the new president is found and begins work. After that, I will begin preparing for the next phase of my Clemson career as a faculty member in the School of Architecture.
… The personal journey I have taken in the first half of 2013 led me to conclude that this is the right time to “change majors” from the president’s office to Lee Hall simply because Clemson University is in such good shape.
We have a high demand for everything about Clemson. We’re attracting great students, faculty and staff. We are blessed with alumni support and a capital campaign that has been very, very successful. We are financially healthy; in fact, we are in better shape financially than we were before the Great Recession. And we have a plan that has broad support by our alumni and, most importantly, by our Board of Trustees.
We are on an upward path, and I pledge to do everything I can to continue this positive momentum.
It has been the honor and privilege of my life to serve as your 14th president, and I will always be grateful to Clemson students, faculty, staff and alumni for giving me a chance to serve my alma mater in this special way.

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